Attack of the Ivy

IMG_0598Well, while Olivia was sick with Croup, I have been battling a terrible poison ivy rash.  It started on my forehead and has traveled all over my body and limbs.  I went to the Urgent Care the morning after Olivia’s late night trip the ER and they gave me a steroid shot and a round of Prednisone.  I had a slight fever when I arrived due to my body having a bad reaction to the poison ivy.  As I walked to my car in the parking lot after the shot, I started to feel dizzy.  Once I turned my car on, I called Jamie to tell him I was on the way back to the house but I started to go silent.  I had to hang up the phone and call the Urgent Care to send nurses out to the parking lot to save me.  They said I was grey!  Not even white.  They had to pull me from my car and I had to stay on a gurney for hours.  UGH!  I don’t know if I had worked myself up from getting a shot or if I had a bad reaction.  I hate needles but I have not had any fainting spells since I got pregnant and had to become a pro.  I thought that if I could get an epidural, I could do ANY needle!

The rash kept getting worse through out the week even after the steroid shot and Prednisone prescription.  The rash was hot to the touch and I felt like I wanted to rip my skin off.  It kept spreading.  It was on my eyes, my neck, my abdomen, my legs… EVERYWHERE!  I went back to the Urgent Care and they had to give me another round of steroids and Prednisone at a higher dosage with a longer tapper.  Thankfully, they gave me the steroids in an oral form and not a shot.  I was already in tears when the doc told me I had to have another round on steroids.  Why they couldn’t have given me the steroids in oral form the first time is beyond me.  I had told the nurse I get faint with needles and that I have to lay down when I get shots.

The rash didn’t scare me as much as taking some pretty heavy medicine.  I was so nervous because Prednisone and breastfeeding are not great together.  Their isn’t a lot of research so it was hard to get clear answers.  Of course the Urgent Care doc had no clue about Prednisone and breastfeeding compatibility.  The Infant Risk Center Hotline and our Ped had to do some research and finally both came to the conclusion that I should wait 4 hours before breastfeeding after taking the Prednisone in the morning and that if I had to stay on the Prednisone for longer than a month, I would have to reevaluate breastfeeding.

The doctor also gave me an anti inflammatory that made me very drowsy.  My mom made the 5 hour trip as soon as she heard that I had passed out at the Urgent Care.  She helped out so much as I was battling my own bodies terrible reaction to the poison ivy and as Olivia recovered from Croup.  It is such a helpless feeling not being able to take care of your own baby because you yourself are sick.

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All Tied Up

I knew that something was wrong with how Olivia and I were breastfeeding from the get go.  My milk came in immediately after giving birth but it was extremely painful to feed her.  The milk was flowing and she was getting it, but I could not stand the pain it was causing me.  I had read many books and Googled how I was supposed to breastfeed but no one position works for ALL moms and babies.  Each baby and mom are different.  One baby might be more comfortable in a football hold, while another is able to latch better in a cross-cradle hold.

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Olivia and I did skin to skin for about three hours right after she was born.  She had her eyes open the whole time and just rested on my chest.  The nurse finally said lets try to feed her and had all the family clear out of the hospital room to give us some privacy.  The nurse helped me lift Livie to me and had me position her across my body.  She latched on right away but the pain was so intense.  I called for the lactation consultant on duty right away because I knew I wasn’t doing something right.  She was latched on and I was doing the techniques I had read about.  But no matter how I held her, I had shooting pain in my breast all the way down to the tips of my toes.  I had heard from more than one mama that it would be very painful for the first two weeks or so when you first start breastfeeding.  I was prepared for that, but I was not prepared for feeling paralyzed from pain every time she sucked.  I just knew that if the pain stayed like this, there was NO way I could go on with breastfeeding.  Not breastfeeding, unless for a medical reason that I could not get around, was just not an option for me.  I wanted to breastfeed and I was determined!

The lactation consultant tried more than a few different positions to hold Olivia in, but none of them offered relief.  My nipples were so bruised and chapped within just two days.  After the third visit within two days from a lactation consultant while still in the hospital, she finally gave me a Medela Breast Shield to use.  I had instant relief!  After not sleeping for three days straight and going through the dramatic life of event of giving birth, I was just happy to feed her without being crippled from pain.

I read up about breast shields when I got home from the hospital to educate myself on what we were using.  I read all of the pros and cons.  They can help with sore or damaged nipples but they can also decrease milk supply.  After researching, I knew that the relief from pain outweighed all of the cons.  If I had to feed her every three hours each day, I had to use it in order to endure.

Breast shields are probably one of the most annoying things ever invented for a new mom when you have a crying newborn.  You are constantly fumbling around looking for a clean one to slip on.  I can’t even describe how annoying they are when you are out in public and not in the privacy of your own home.  New breastfeeding mamas and newborns are already clumsy enough as it is.  Adding a small, clear shield to a small area and getting it to stay there is even worse!

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At about 3 1/2 months old, Livie and I were both over using the shield.  I wanted to get rid of it sooner but she was not having it.  She weaned herself off of it within two days when she was ready.  Her latch was very shallow and still caused me pain once she did wean completely off.  I had gotten to the point that I was used to the pain and just powered through it.  Olivia was below the 10% percentile every weigh in and I was a getting discouraged that she was not “healthy.”

One day, I was reading through a few posts on a local hospitals (where we used to live in NC) breastfeeding Facebook group wall.  A mom had posted a question asking other mamas for upper lip-tie doctor referrals.  What was lip tie???

I Googled it, like I do anything I don’t know about that intrigues me.  I started clicking, and clicking and clicking.  A whole new world opened up to me.  My wheels started to instantly spin out of control.   I started reading about the symptoms:  nipple pain and damage, shallow latch, oversupply issues, slow weight gain in baby, baby may readily gag, the baby makes a clicking sound when sucking, you can see a compression/stripe mark on the nipple at the end of a breastfeed (lipstick mark as most call it)… the list goes on, but Olivia and I suffered from ALL of them!!!!  I pulled up her upper lip and sure enough, the a piece of skin under her upper lip (the labial frenulum) was very short and thick and it was pinned very tightly to her upper gum.

The first thing I did was call our Pediatrician.  I can never get him on the phone so I talked to the nurse.  She said their really was no point in coming in because the doctor can not help with lip ties.  She actually had never heard of one until I told her it was like a tongue tie except for the upper lip.  She got me a referral to a local ENT doctor to save me a trip to the Peds office.  When the ENT nurse called to schedule an appointment, she had no idea what a lip-tie was either.  I was so confused.  Their wasn’t a whole lot on the internet about lip ties, but how could an ENT who performs regular tongue tie clippings not know what it is?!?  I told her never mind and just hung up dumb founded.

I finally called the last person I could think of calling locally.  I called a lactation consultant at the hospital we delivered in since they are a free resource to use if you deliver there.  I told her the symptoms and told her I am 95% sure, without a medical degree, that she had a lip-tie.  She told me right away that their was not a single doctor or ENT within two hours that would touch a lip-tie, let alone even know what one was.  She let me make an appointment for that following Monday to come in to confirm if Livie had a lip-tie.  I was so glad to finally chat with someone on the phone who had some sort of knowledge in what I was talking about.  I told her I might have become one of those crazy Google obsessive moms who overreacts about everything.  Once I told her our symptoms, she said her suspicion was a lip-tie.  Maybe I wasn’t going crazy.

We went to the hospital that following Monday and just as she started to raise up her upper lip, she said emphatically, “Yep!”  I might have just found the reason behind all of the pain!  She then ran her finger under Olivia’s tongue and told me she had a tongue-tie too.  I didn’t see that one coming.  I had checked and never saw the thin piece of skin under the baby’s tongue (the lingual frenulum) that is very short and restricts the movement of the tongue.  I’m not a nurse or doctor so I asked her to show me.  She told me it was a posterior or type 4 tongue-tie which you have to feel for and is not as visible to the eye unless you are really looking for it.  Her frenulum attached to the base and was causing restriction in movement.  Apparently, babies with upper lip-tie usually have a tongue-tie as well.

It was great to hear her confirm my suspicions, but now what?  What was the next step in fixing the problem if their wasn’t a doctor locally who would look at it.  She said that the closest doctor what specializes in upper lip-ties was all the way in Jacksonville, FL over two hours away.  Are you kidding me?  My first thought was that it meant no in-network insurance.  I went back to the breastfeeding Facebook page which had gotten the ball rolling in the first place as I walked out of the hospital.  Since my parents live where the group is based out of, I figured I would ask the mamas for a reference.  They all named the same ENT doctor in Raleigh, NC.  I called on the way home from seeing the lactation consultant because we were traveling back home in two weeks.  I was hopeful that they could squeeze us in.  They fit us in with no problem.  What a relief!  I talked to the billing department after scheduling our procedure to see just how much it was going to put us in to debt.  The woman in billing was super nice and you could tell she got asked how much it would cost out-of-network patients a lot.  She told me it was cheaper for us to pay out of pocket and it would only cost $250.  That, I could deal with.  If we had BF in pain for any longer, I’m sure I would have given up and had to switch to formula.  We would save $250 just in formula.

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We traveled back home to visit my parents a few weeks later.  The procedure was on a Monday afternoon.  Olivia woke up a happy baby which was calming for me.  I was freaking out.  My mom drove Jamie, Olivia and I to the ENT’s office.  I made us leave super early in case of traffic.  When I am nervous or traveling, I like to leave early.   We were 40 minutes early, so I got Starbucks.

After check-in, the nurse put us in a small, cramped room and asked some basic info and symptom questions.  She confirmed the lip and tongue tie and got the doctor.  Jamie sat in the chair in the middle of the room and held Olivia.  The doctor told me to be ready to nurse, so I sat off to the side.  They didn’t numb her at all.  I covered my eyes and started bawling when I heard her little screams.  He made two snips, one on the top and one of the bottom.  I looked up one time during it all and just saw so much blood that I started crying even more.  The nurse put her hand on my knee and said they were almost done.  She consoled me more than my daughter.

It only took a minute to be completely done, but it felt like a lifetime.  Hearing your helpless child scream in pain is the worse!  Now I know why so many moms opt to stay out of the room during the procedure.  The doctor made sure the bleeding had slowed down before letting Jamie pass her to me to nurse.  She wouldn’t latch on for about a minute because she was so upset.  Blood was just running down her and I as I tried to force her to eat.  Nursing helps stop the bleeding.  She finely calmed down enough to latch on and I could tell a different instantly!  It was so comfortable and painless.  She slowly stopped crying after a few minutes and fell asleep.

The nurse came back in after we were done nursing to show me some exercises that we would have to do for two weeks to make sure the skin didn’t grow back.  By that time, Olivia was smiling and laughing at the nurse.  She acted like nothing had happened.  She was a little annoyed at the nurse forcing her finger in her mouth to show me the stretches.

For the lip tie after every feeding, I had to run my finger across her upper gum and then pull the upper lip up towards her nose three times each.  The tongue tie exercise was to curl my finger and push it against the underside of her tongue to put pressure on the ingual frenulum for three second intervals 3x.  I hated that the stretches had to be done after every feeding.  I wish it could be before.  I would nurse her to sleep and then have to shove my finger in her mouth and wake her up again.  Any mom knows how hard it is to get them down.  But it was for the better.

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We had to travel over five hours home immediately after the procedure so that Jamie could get back to work.  Olivia nursed one time on the way home but slept it all off.  She was completely normal and slept through the night.  I had instant relief and didn’t even feel her feeding anymore.  Breastfeeding felt natural.  Not forced.  I hated to put my daughter through any sort of painful procedure, but the benefits outweighed my fears.  She started to gain weight and not be so frustrated during feedings.  My milk supply leveled out and we are now breastfeeding pros.  I wish their were more resources out there on lip ties and that it is checked more often.  I saw three lactation consultants and my daughters Ped and no one ever checked.  How was I supposed to know to check?  I’m not a doctor.  I just knew something was wrong and didn’t give up, even when I was in pain.  If you are a new mom and having trouble breastfeeding, please do not give up!  It should be an enjoyable bonding experience between you and your LO.  If you think something is wrong, keep researching and asking questions until you get answers.

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Day 14: Mondays

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It’s been one of those crazy Mondays.  I took Olivia to the lactation consultant at our hospital where she was born.  She was diagnosed with both tongue and lip tongue tie.  I will discuss it more later.  Let’s just say, I am freaking out!!!!

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Our kitchen floor half way ripped up certainly does not help calm my mind. …

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Two Month Vaccines

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Before & After vaccines

Little Livie had her 2 month old vaccines last Thursday before we went out of town.  She did so well!  Her daddy kept her smiling the whole checkup until the actually shots.  She got three vaccines, two in her left leg and one in her right.  They also gave her the Rotavirus vaccine orally which she actually liked.  Apparently it’s made sweet.  When she got the actually shots she cried so loud and just laid on the table looking so helpless.  I don’t do well with needles so Jamie stood by her as I video taped it while not looking.  The nurse gave the shots really fast and then I went straight to nursing her.  She took a few seconds to latch on but once she did she calmed down.  Poor thing.  She basically slept the whole rest of the day.  I gave her Tylenol twice but the doctor said not to over medicate if she doesn’t need it.  She didn’t.  She was a happy baby the next day.

Before the vaccines her Pediatrician did a 2 month well visit.  She weight 10 lbs even so she has gained 3 whole pounds since birth.  That put her in the 11th percentile for weight.  He said since we are a petite and small family, she will probably follow in our footsteps.  I am not really worried about it right now because I know she eats like a champ and has a poopy diaper almost every other one I change.  My mom told me I was always below the 30-20 percentile so it makes sense that she would be too.  As the doctor put it, “she just wants to be small!”  Her head was 15 inches so that put her in the 17th percentile.  I have been noticing lately that her head is getting bigger but her body isn’t.  Potato head.  She is now 22 inches which is a 2.5 inch growth.

The doctor called her “perfect” for the second visit in a row so I’m a happy mama.  I’m sure he says it to everyone but I don’t want to believe it.  He also said we are great parents because we don’t overly worry.  He could observe by how I talk about Olivia that we follow her instincts.  He is the third person to say that to me within the last two weeks.  My Grandma said the same thing.  She said I am calm and go with the flow.  I guess that’s a good thing?  I decided when she was born to be present and not worry about the what ifs.  When things come up or happen I then do research but I don’t sit on the computer all day everyday worrying.  I did enough research before she was born to know how to deal with the basics.  I would rather spend my time playing with her and letting her tell me what she needs.

 

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Seborrheic Dermatitis

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Olivia started to develop red bumps on her face at about a week and a half.  It covered all of her little chunky cheeks.  She had the normal Milia (little white bumps) on her forehead as well.  The doctor at her two week visit said it was all very common in newborns and to just wash it with clean water and keep it dry.  He also said that is what Photoshop is for.  Who wants to have to Photoshop their 2 week olds face? I want to document it for what it actually looks like.

I researched baby acne when we got home and apparently 40% of newborns get it so I relaxed.  I read that it bothers mama more than it bothers the baby (they don’t even know they have it).  Don’t get me wrong, I still think she has the most precious face, but the red bumps look like they would hurt me if they were on my face sometimes.

At her one month well check up I asked her pediatrician if it was still baby acne.  She had also developed flaky skin on her hair line and eyebrows.  The Milia had cleared up completely but the red bumps just would not go away.  Some days it looked worse than others.  On the bad days, it looked more like a rash.  It got red and more inflamed anytime she was upset or cried.  I of course Googled some more before our check-up and found that babies can get seborrheic dermatitis.  It is basically cradle cap of the face.  Newborns skin can get dry and the face over compensates by producing more oils which gets trapped under the skin.  I asked him about it and sure enough she had it.  He recommended massaging olive oil on the flaky skin and then taking my thumb nail and scraping the skin away.  He said it wouldn’t hurt her because the Olive Oil will loosen the skin.  He said to then get Selsun Blue and put it on the affected areas, leave it on for a minute and then rinse off.  I was alarmed when he told us to get Selsun Blue because I don’t want to put harsh chemicals on my little Livies face.  Before I could question it, he said he had to use this treatment on his daughters face when she was a newborn.  It was reassuring to hear he had used it.  I hate it when doctors tell you to do something without experiencing it first hand themselves.

Jamie and I picked some up at Publix on the way home.  Jamie of course wanted to buy the generic kind because it was cheaper, but if I was going to put chemicals on Olivia’s face, I was going to use exactly what the doctor prescribed.  She had no problem with me massaging it on her face and rinsing it off.  I was so glad she didn’t put up a fight because I was so nervous that I was going to get it in her eyes.  The next morning I could see a dramatic difference.  She only had a few red bumps left.  The doctor said to do 2-3 treatments to knock it out completely.  Two days after the first treatment I could see the bumps coming back.  I did her second treatment yesterday while giving her a bath.  She again only has a few bumps left today.  I’m hoping all of them will be gone by her third treatment I will give her tomorrow.  Let’s hope for the best!

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First Doctors Visit

Olivia had her first doctors visit today.  She was 6 lbs 11 oz and still 19.5 in length.  She had to get blood drawn to check for jaundice just as a precaution.  Olivia’s coombs test came back positive in the hospital.  I am O blood type and she is A+.  A positive Coombs test means that there is a difference between mom and baby’s blood type.   Mom’s body sees the baby’s blood as foreign and it makes antibodies against it.  Some of mom’s blood and antibodies get into the baby’s blood and attacks; it starts to break some of the baby’s red blood cells. The can cause jaundice.  Her levels in the hospital stayed below 5 which was great!  They wanted to just do a quick follow up just in case after we left the hospital.

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